Aug 14, 2016

In this contest we want to hear you rant; so what's bugging you?

Anything is fair game with two exceptions: Religion and politics. There's enough rants about those going around to fulfill anybody's quota, and they are against site rules anyway.

You may enter as many times as you like, and while this is an advanced contest (So everybody can participate) the prize is a beginner trophy, and beginner's rules apply

500 word limit, we want a rant, not a manifesto, and of course if you make it humorous or over the top in some way it will probably help your score ;)

Contest Rules
* Entry Fee: Free
* Prize: Beginner Medal
* Level: Beginner
* Character Limits: Up to 500 words
* Submit period: 12 days
* Voting period: 2 days
* All regular Writing Deck Rules apply.

* Multiple entries are allowed in this contest.

Good luck!

As a near retirement age supervisor of a group of twenty somethings I am quite used to dealing with the issues that come with the struggles the younger generation has with adapting to having a career or just a life for that matter. Just a few weeks ago, I noticed a change in my crew. On a quiet Thursday morning I noticed my crew looking a bit worse for the wear. I smiled deep inside me as I thought, ah youth, free sex and chemical libations, who needs sleep?

At first it was amusing watching them on their smart phones bumping into the walls but after a week I was about to call them all out on the carpet. It got more concerning when I heard talk of server outages and crashed networks. No Internet equals no money around this place.

The first time I overheard one of them mentioning a victini I assumed it was some new vodka concoction and electabuzz had to be some new party drug. More and more I was hearing these odd terms and names. Absenteeism was going up and we had two personal injuries in the office. Enough is enough; I need to get to the bottom of this.

I think I was being very discrete as I looked over Chelsey’s shoulder to her phone screens. Pokémon GO? You’ve got to be kidding me. An office full of “adults” who have lost all sense over a game involving cutesy animals with badly translated names? Productivity is at an all-time low and my staff looks like extras from the cast of “The Walking Dead”.

I just don’t get it. I remember the horribly animated TV show my teens would watch and a boring Nintendo game. How my entire staff could be infected by this is beyond me. My college educated, highly motivated, paid on commission staff has turned into a flock of mindless dodo birds. I think that this is the harbinger of the end of civilization as we know it.

Needing to escape the office and those problems, I went to the café down the street for some lunch. I couldn’t help but notice the groups of young people walking around like zombies while staring into their phones. Others were sitting in groups on the park benches and on the odd monument. I overheard talk of gyms but for the life of me, none of these people seemed all that active.

Making my way to the counter, I ordered a blue cheese burger with yam fries and watched as my food was prepared by a young man with one hand and both eyes on his phone. I was fearing for my safety. As I turned around I saw this girl raise her arm and pull back. I yelled at the top of my lungs, “Hey, put away that Poké Ball.”

So I'm driving to the market to pick up some feminine products for the wife; which in itself could be a rant, when as I approach a tasty parking spot, I spy that it is already taken... BY A SHOPPING CART!!

Who does that? I can answer my own question as I have seen the blasphemers in action before. I've held my tongue but it keeps getting more difficult as my filters disappear with age. What benefit is there in growing old if you can't scream at an unsuspecting evil doer?

The shopping cart is a courtesy, you don't pay for its use, it's a kindness so as you can save effort. Why take up somebody else's time because you lack the sense God gave a dung beetle? There are even cart stations placed strategically throughout the lot. How many steps did you save just to frustrate somebody that you will never see?

So I have a decision to make, get out of the car and move the obtrusive, formerly welcome object? Or drive on and get a less desirable space. The honk from behind makes my decision for me. Have at you impatient snot, take a look at what slowed me down and welcome to my world.

The grocery store doesn't have to supply its customers with this item which aids with such convenience. As a matter of fact, back in the day there were no shopping carts. Before the question "Paper or plastic?" there was only paper. Before that you relied on the bag boy helping you with your groceries to the car.

Not many people remember this but originally you had to schlep your own purchases to the car yourself no matter how many trips it took. The people behind you waited, and back then they waited patiently. You tell the kids that today and they don't believe you.

As I walk to the entrance I pass the offending cart, I sigh and take it with me into the store to use. It's inanimate cold steel had no choice in the matter and using the same cart the inconsiderate buffoon used has a tranquilizing effect on me. That's right, I'm better than him.

I love coffee. Even better, I love that I can just drive my rusted out 93 Ford Tempo up to the window at the drive thru and drive away with my coffee in just minutes. It is always just the right amount and always super fresh. At least, that is how it was when my car was new.

Waits have gotten longer and longer and my medium black coffee order is as likely to be wrong as it is correct. I had it all figured out, they pay the workers low wages and therefor they do not get the cream of the crop, if you catch my drift. Somewhere between minimum wage apathy and the mental dysfunction of today’s youth, the entire morning cup of coffee experience had gone from a pleasant routine to a tortuous morning punishment. I even found myself settling for that crude concoction that spews from the office coffee pot just to avoid the drive thru experience.

The Tempo died one day and I got myself a spiffy 2005 Mustang convertible. Riding around with the top down certainly raised my awareness of what was going on around me. Gritting my teeth, I pulled in for a coffee. Just one car in front of me, how bad could it be? As soon as she started ordering, I found out.

First, it was obvious that the driver was ordering food and coffee for herself, the five passengers and likely a couple of people they were chatting with on their cell phones. I listened closely as the order started. “One small coffee with cream and sugar…Oh and a Jelly donut, heated please”

Now she was turning to the front seat passenger. It got worse. “Medium hot coffee with almond milk and two sugars and two Splenda, a turbo shot and could you put an ice cube and an extra cup with that…Toasted whole wheat bagel with egg and ham and cream cheese on the side… Do you know if that ham was free range?” I won’t bore you, this went on for 5 minutes with moments of silence while some of the passengers had a bit of indecisiveness or a farfetched question.

Finally I got my hopes up until I heard “I would also like a dozen doughnuts, one plain, one jelly, two chocolate glazed and…….what else do you have?”
Arghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! From the speaker I hear, “That will be forty eight dollars and 17 cents.”

I pull up to the speaker and say “Medium black hot coffee please”. This was followed by a long pause and “Someone will be with you in a minute. Sorry for the wait.” Ya right, they ain't one bit sorry, it’s in the script.

I finally pull up to pick up my coffee and the pimply faced kid asked what I ordered. “World peace and decent service, I guess I have come to the wrong place.” Uggh!
4th place

“Man, I hate this,” exploded Jim. “All I want to do is watch the game, but every two minutes they break in with commercials.”

“Well if they didn’t have commercials,” asked Sue, “they wouldn’t get the money to be able to show the game, right?”

“Yeah, so they say,” answered Jim. “But I don’t buy it. If those companies have to pay the station so much to run these ads, where is their profit if they sell the things for so little?”

“Maybe because a lot of people buy the products after seeing the commercials?” posed Sue.

“Maybe the first time,” sneered Jim, “but would you buy that jar of healing ointment the second time around, if it didn’t work the first time, and you realized that to send back the empty jar for a complete refund would cost you more in shipping, than it cost you to originally buy it?

“And how about that pan? Can they really expect people to believe that you can do all that stuff with a non-stick pan? Of course not. People know that you have to cook on low heat with one of those things. Anything else will ruin them. And you could go to the local store and get a replacement that is just as good, for far less than what it would cost to send it back under its so-called warranty.

“And that spray that keeps everything waterproof? I bet if you read the can, it says you must make sure whatever surface you use it on must be dry, clean and porous before spraying, and then if it is exposed to the weather before setting for a week of something, the guarantee is null and void.”

“Okay," replied Sue, “I see your point, so what are you doing?"

“Well, as long as the commercials are still on, I figured it would be a good time to order this book,” answered Jim while typing away on his laptop.

“Oh, a book?” asked Sue. “What is it a murder mystery?”

“Nope,” replied Jim with a big smile, “It’s a tell-all on which television commercial products are really to be trusted. There was an ad for it just a little while ago.”

Sue: (insert your own comment here, reader).

As you may know Walmart put in a group of self-checkout registers at its Supercenter stores a while back to try to cut costs by employing customers at no pay to replace cashiers. Apparently the Walton family is not yet rich enough despite occupying at least three of the top 20 spots on the Forbes richest people list.

But this isn’t really a rant about that, frankly I like checking myself out particularly when I am buying the more embarrassing type items like Nasal-wart-be-gone, anti-flatulence pills or Depends. I prefer not to have to run those past a total stranger manning a register.
Also it’s usually a lot quicker, they have a good number of self-checkout registers in the cluster, people with large orders generally don’t use them, and I don’t have to wait in line behind some biddy who waits until the cashier finishes her $500 order to go searching for a checkbook and a pen like she is suddenly surprised to find she has to pay the bill.
Regrettably Walmart apparently decided to cut costs on their IT Systems too, because invariably when customer traffic starts building up (like every weekend recently) the registers break down. All at once, we aren’t talking a machine going off-line, we are talking the whole system crashing.

And of course since Walmart does NOT have employees just sitting around with nothing to do, when six or so self-checkout machines go offline, they have exactly two lanes open with little old ladies with the $500 orders and the checkbook buried in their handbag standing in line.

So there I am standing there with the family sized bottle of anti-flatulence pills, 12 packages of Oreos (they were on sale) and a movie I’d rather have in a plain brown wrapper wondering whether to just dump it all on the floor, or spend the next hour of my life getting it checked out. Three weekends in a row (of course it wasn’t Oreos all the time, there were the 12 bags of Cheetoz that one trip).

So thanks Walmart, for your tireless focus on the doing to the customer what you’ve done to the locally owned businesses for years. And I understand Jeff Bezos isn't rich enough yet either, thanks for the assist.

I saw this writing challenge back two weeks ago just like the rest of you did. Oh good, I can bang out 500 words over the weekend. No work Saturday or Sunday so with plenty of time and no work a day stress to fog my brain, this will be a piece of cake.

Saturday comes and I sleep late, make a big breakfast, mow the lawn and catch a ball game. I paid the bills and thought about fixing the broken shingle. No, I am going to write up my rant, they are hundreds of them rolling around in my head.

“Daddy, Daddy, can we go to the movies? You promised. The Secret Life of Pets, The Secret Life of Pets”

Seems like I did promise and I can always write it tomorrow.

Ahhhhhh, Sunday morning. While pretty wife takes the kids to church, I will bask in the computer glow and write my masterpiece.

“Get ready George. You can’t sit it out this week. Cindy Sear’s little one is being christened and you know they invite us to their end of summer cook out every year. Besides, the pastor has been asking if you are sick and keeps saying he is going to stop by and check on you. The place looks like hell so let’s not be having surprise company.”

Foiled again.

After church there is fast food to eat, shopping to do and in-laws to visit. I watched another ball game on Sunday evening with every intention of typing on the laptop that just went dead on my lap.

Monday was little league and Tuesday was soccer practice but I could see Wednesday as my final shot at writing this. You already know I didn’t work on this on Wednesday, you guessed it, the Pastor stopped by and had to chat it up with him and pretty wife had to keep feeding him so he would stay long past his welcome. No wonder the guy is pushing 300 pounds. I am semi-seriously considering Satanism at this point. Thursday just came and went.

Here I sit on Friday night with a scant few hours to go. The clock is ticking. My clients have left me brain dead and I am going write this rant and reward myself with a cold one every 75 words. I will either write this thing or pass out. Maybe that is why so many writers become alcoholics.

Two beers later, just what was I going to write my rant about anyway? Oh yeah, just when did I lose ownership of my life?
7th place

I have a couple of e-mail accounts on private servers that apparently I haven't set filtering right up on so I get more than my share of e-mails containing attachments from people trying to extort money from me to let me get back into my files.

Now my antivirus software catches them, so no big deal, but what I find annoying is the level of stupidity of the people sending the things.

What they are trying to do is get you to open an attachment using social engineering, I get that, the problem is this: If I get one e-mail from somebody I don't know saying "here's your invoice" there is at least a chance in hell I would click on it. When my inbox looks like this:

RE: Invoice George Spiderbarf
RE: Invoice Mary Toadstool
RE: Invoice John Doe
RE: Invoice Susie Creamcheese
RE: Invoice: Roger Ramjet
RE: Invoice: Sally Bandersnatch
RE: Invoice: Farrell Foggybottom

I'm not going to go: "Oh! I wonder why Susie sent me an invoice. I haven't seen her in a while!"

Yes, I understand those guys are just running scripts, but why in the world would they set up a script to bombard an account with 10 different e-mails in a half hour period if your desired result is to get somebody to click on one of them?

It's hard to feel superior about avoiding infecting your PC stupidly if they make it blindingly obvious you are getting contaminated e-mails. I mean, what's the challenge?

I think ransom-ware ought to be limited to sending one e-mail a day to any one account. Now to whom do I address my complaint?
8th place

Jerry almost bumped into Bob as they reached the breakroom door at the same time. “You first, Bob,” said Jerry.

“Well, thank you,” responded Bob.

“Think nothing of it,” from Jerry, “you’ve got the donuts.”

“Yeah, it’s my week,” came back Bob. “Hey did you watch the Rockies lose again last night?”

“Oh no,” a frowning Jerry shot back, “that means when Tom comes in, if we’re still here, we’ll have to listen to him rant on about how they never should have traded for that pitcher, and how he could manage the team better than that staff of monkeys.”

“And then he might start in on the blind umpires,” Quipped Bob.

“Yeah,” returned Jerry as he reached up to pull their cups from their assigned pegs. "You want a cup. Bob?”

“Please,” answered Bob as he was looking out through the breakroom window. “Uh, oh, speak of the devil, it looks like Tom’s on his way over.”

“Oh man, we’ll have to hurry and get out of here,” stated Jerry as he noticed something nasty. “Will you look at this? Someone did it again. I can’t believe who is so stupid as to use the sugar spoon to stir their coffee and then just put the spoon back in the sugar bowl. Look at that gooey mess. I can’t see how people could ever want sugar again after seeing that.”

“Good thing I drink mine black,” said Bob with a glimmer in his eye.

Still grumbling, Jerry went to grab a donut, in hopes he could still get out before Tom arrived. “Aw man, Jerry, how many times do I have to tell you not to buy the donuts form “Donuts ‘R’ Us”? They never have even a spoonful of jelly in the middle,” he spouted as he tore one of the donuts in half. “See? Take the extra minute to drive over to “Dunkin Donuts”, huh? Sheesh, every time it’s your turn, I have to say the same thing, over and over…”

“Hello guys,” said Tom, entering the room. “What’s Jerry ranting about now?”

“Nothing new,” said a smiling Bob, rushing out the door.